The Sarbanes Oxley Act, Public Law 107-204, was enacted in July 2002 as a swift and sweeping response to the misconduct of companies such as Arthur Anderson, Enron and WorldCom. The Sarbanes Oxley Act increases Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) disclosure requirements and provides whistleblower protection to “any officer, employee, contractor, subcontractor, or agent” who reports a reasonable belief that a publicly traded company subject to the SEC regulations has engaged in any of a number of fraudulent activities, including:

  • federal mail fraud;
  • wire fraud;
  • securities fraud;
  • bank fraud; and
  • violation of SEC or other federal regulations prohibiting shareholder fraud

Under the Sarbanes Oxley Act whistleblower protection provisions, a whistleblower may submit a good faith report of corporate wrongdoing to supervisors, law enforcement personnel, the SEC, and/or Congress. Once a whistleblower report of alleged corporate misconduct is received, the Sarbanes Oxley Act prohibits a corporation/employer, its agents, and related third parties from retaliating against the whistleblower. Additionally, Sarbanes Oxley provides that a whistleblower who believes he or she has been subject to retaliation or discrimination for reporting to a designated source may file a complaint to seek redress for the conduct violating the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

Employer Penalties for Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower Protection Violations

If the company or its representative (the “named person”) is found to have violated the Sarbanes Oxley Act whistleblower protection provisions by engaging in retaliatory conduct towards the whistleblower, the wrongdoer must compensate the whistleblower to make them “whole.” The damages that may be recovered by a whistleblower that has been retaliated against include:

  • reinstatement to the former position with the same seniority status the employee would have had but for the discriminatory act
  • back pay with interest; and
  • compensatory damages for any special damages, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, and expert witness fees if the whistleblower prevails.

How to File a Whistleblower Complaint under Sarbanes Oxley

The whistleblower’s complaint should be filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) area director within 90 days of the alleged discriminatory action. Information on how to file the complaint and who to contact can be found by contacting the attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard LLP.

Sarbanes Oxley Whistleblower Protections Lawyer

If you want to report a Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower protection violation or other troubling activity, or if you have already done so, an experienced whistleblower lawyer can protect your legal rights and interests. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.  

Published November 17, 2011 by